The London Times

August 2,1935

Brig.-General J.A. Dealy

Campaign in German East Africa

Brigadier-General John Anderson Dealy, C.M.G., C.I.E., D.S.O., R.E., who died suddenly at his residence, Riant Chateau, Territet, Switzerland, on July 29, was a Sapper officer whose whole career in the Army was devoted to engineer work. Apart from the Great War, which took him early to France, then to East Africa, and, finally, back to India again, nearly all his service was in India.

He was the second son of the late John Richard Dealy, of the Dunsandle branch of the Daly family in Galway, and latterly of Bantry and Blackheath. He was educated privately, passed into the Royal Military Academy, and received his commission in the Royal Engineers in 1884. He was for a time at Gibraltar, proceeding thence to India. As a subaltern he served with a company of the Madras Sappers and Miners in the Upper Burma operations of 1888. He was promoted captain in 1892, major in 1900, and during the Waziristan Expedition of 1901-1902 he was C.R.E. at Loralai, which station he was instrumental in planning. He joined for permanent service in India and was commanding the Royal Engineers, Sirhind District, in 1903. Thereafter he held various appointments in the Military Works and Public Works Department. He was promoted lieutenant-colonel in October, 1909, and colonel in 1913.

When war broke out he landed in France in September, 1914, with the first Indian Contingent and was appointed Assistant Director of Works. In June, 1915, he was mentioned in Sir John French's dispatches and was appointed C.M.G. At the end of 1915 he left France, having been appointed C.R.E. on the Staff of General Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien in East Africa with the temporary brigadier-general. When Lieutenant-General the Hon. J.C. Smuts took over command of the Expedition Dealy was his Chief Engineer. He was all through that terrible campaign of the invasion of German East Africa, of which all too little is known to this day. The Germans as they retreated destroyed, wholesale, railways, bridges, rolling stock, and roads, which were mined freely, and it was there that Dealy's talent for improvisation was of vital service to an Army hundreds of miles from its base and literally "in the blue". He did that job, as he did all things, thoroughly, was mentioned in dispatches by the Commander-in-Chief, and was awarded the D.S.O.

It was owing to the hardships endured in this campaign that his health was almost hopelessly impaired, though he continued on active service until 1919. He left East Africa in 1917 and eventually returned to India, where he was appointed C.R.E. 4th (Quetta) Division and Secretary (P.W.D.) to the Acting Governor-General of Baluchistan. During the third Afghan War in 1919 he was Chief Engineer of the Southern Force and was made a Companion of the Indian Empire in 1920. In November, 1920, he was appointed Deputy Director of Military Works, Western Command, in India, and retired with the rank of brigadier-general in March, 1922. Later on he settled in Switzerland where, except for a few fleeting visits to England, he remained until the day of his death.

In 1904 he married Olive Helen, daughter of Mr. Charles Duncan, barrister-at-law, by whom he had a son and a daughter. His grandfather, a naval officer, accompanied Admiral Parry in his Polar expedition about 1819 and was the discoverer of the small island which bears his name. On his mother's side he was a descendant of the brother of Archbishop James Ussher, Primate of All Ireland, who died in 1656 and was buried in Westminster Abbey by the Protector's order and at his expense.

A correspondent writes: --

Dealy had an exceptional capacity for friendship and a singular charm which endeared him to all with whom he came in contact. Though the keenest of soldiers his interests were many: among other things he was a keen philatelist, a connoisseur of old china, one of the pioneers of motoring in India, and his knowledge of affairs was remarkable. Through all the later years, when constant suffering might have soured the sunniest disposition, he kept a young heart and was the best of companions. Those who knew him will feel that the world is the better for his passing through it, and that is an epitaph any man may envy.


Main Page Graphic Return to Front Page

email graphic Send email to preparer: Emery Daly